Atlanta Public Schools Recognized Nationally for Excellence in Financial Management and Budgeting
The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Finance Division has received two national recognitions for excellence in financial operations. The Council of the Great City Schools named APS the recipient of its Award for Excellence in Financial Management. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded the district its Distinguish Budget Presentation award. Both awards are the highest distinction in their respective categories.
From L-R: Atlanta Board of Education Chair Courtney D. English; Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen; and Council of Great City Schools Executive Director Michael Casserly presents the Award for Excellence in Financial Management to APS Chief Financial Officer Chuck Burbridge, surrounded by the Atlanta Board of Education members. Photo Credit: Scott Clark King, APS
The Council of the Great City Schools’ award recognized APS for attaining the highest standards in financial management, accountability and fiscal control. The organization assembles a team of the most respected subject-matter experts from schools districts across the country to review a school district’s compliance in nine financial management practices. These areas include internal controls, budget, strategic planning, internal and external financial auditing, capital asset management, debt management, risk management and purchasing. The Council also conducts interviews with the administrative staff and onsite examinations of materials. The coalition of the country’s “big-city” school systems specifically referenced APS’ work to enhance, safeguard and protect the financial integrity of the district.
“This is a significant milestone for the Atlanta Public Schools,” Council Executive Director Michael Casserly said in honoring the Atlanta Board of Education, superintendent, chief financial officer and staff for providing exemplary financial management and stewardship of taxpayer dollars. “Citizens and taxpayers in Atlanta should take pride in how well the city’s public schools are managing their resources. Few city school systems can match Atlanta on this front.” Casserly presented the award during the school board’s March 2, 2015 meeting.
APS is only the fourth winner of the award since the Council created the recognition in 2008. The last award was earned by the Miami-Dade County Schools in 2012. The Houston Independent School District and the Broward County (Fla.) Public Schools are also former recipients of the award.
The Distinguish Budget Presentation award from GFOA is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting. The award recognizes APS for excelling in four key budget presentation areas: having a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communication device. The award also examines an organization’s proficiency in 14 mandatory criteria within each category examined. The Budget department of APS has specifically been identified as the unit primarily responsible for achieving the award. GFOA established the award to identify the highest principles of governmental budgeting.